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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)

Crop Management

Mulching, shading and whitewashing

Mulching or covering the plant basin is done with dry leaves, cover crop cuttings, grass cuttings, paddy straw etc. Dried African payal (Salvinia sp.) also can be effectively used as mulch at the rate of 5 kg/sq.m (sun dried material).

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Benefits

  1. Improvement of water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil
  2. Maintenance of the soil around young rubber plants in a cool and moist condition during summer months
  3. Multiplication of microbial population of the soil, ensuring better nutrient availability
  4. Protection of the soil from beating effect of heavy rainfall resulting in soil erosion
  5. Control of weeds around the plant bases

November is the ideal time for mulching to protect the plant from adverse effect of drought.

Plaited coconut leaves or used gunny bags can be used for shading purpose. The brown bark of the young plants can be protected from the scorching action of the sun by whitewashing the main stem of the plant from the second year of planting. This may be continued till canopy of the plants develops and partially shades the plantation. Whitewashing can be done using lime or china clay.

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